Monday, May 27, 2024

Max Verstappen excited to win in Monaco after dealing with “complicated” weather conditions

Max Verstappen achieved his second-career Monaco Grand Prix victory for Red Bull Racing, converting his pole position after contending with unexpectedly tricky conditions in the latter half of the race.

Verstappen’s first stint saw him well in the lead, but he said that he had to take into account the strategy of Fernando Alonso chasing from behind– forcing him to extend his stint on his starting mediums.

“It’s super nice to win here again in Monaco! It was actually quite a difficult race, we were on the medium to begin with and Fernando on the hard compound, so we didn’t want the first stint to be that long but we had to stay out.”

What would have been a relatively uncomplicated run to the finish for the championship leader quickly turned questionable when a light rain began in certain sections of the circuit. 

Soon after being told by his team on the radio to come in for intermediates whenever he felt it was becoming difficult to stay on track, Verstappen elected to move onto the treaded tyres. The decision was a favorable one, as it suddenly started full-on raining in the race’s closing stages, leading to ice-like conditions which lead Verstappen and several others to come into contact with the barriers on several occasions. 

“The rain also made it quite complicated, we made the call for inters, the first few laps on them were incredibly slippery. I clipped the walls a few times again, but that’s Monaco!”

A misjudgement of how the weather would develop led Alonso to switch to another slick tyre before having to pit a few laps later for wet weather tyres. This essentially eliminated the risk of Verstappen losing out on the win to the Spanish driver– he simply had to “bring it home” after all the chaos to secure the top spot.

“When you are that far in the lead, you don’t want to push that hard but also you don’t want to lose too much time. We managed to stay calm and bring it home and we scored a good amount of points for the Team. I of course will celebrate this evening with my friends and family but tomorrow we focus on Spain.”

“I only want to move on from this race because it was a terrible weekend” – Sergio Pérez

On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Pérez wasn’t able to recover from his costly error during Saturday qualifying– only improving to sixteenth place from his starting position of twentieth. 

Pérez said that this weekend was a low point for him, having crashed out in Q1 and lost out on incredibly valuable championship points on Sunday. 

“It was the worst weekend I can remember in a while; everything went wrong and today we paid the price for a poor mistake from myself in qualifying. I am really sad about the performance, not just today but the whole weekend. I knew yesterday would be extremely costly and ultimately it was 25 points.”

Still well outside the points positions when the rain began, Pérez had hoped that this twist in the race could provide him the opportunity to turn things around. Unfortunately, he said that there was no coming back from his lowly starting position. 

“The conditions were tricky out there and there was some hope that when it started raining we could get things right but we didn’t, it was a shame. I don’t think there was much we could have done differently; all the damage was done yesterday.”

Though this weekend was a hard hit on his championship chances, with Verstappen now thirty-nine points ahead, Pérez’s objective of winning the championship has not wavered. He is aware that he cannot have another weekend without points, and needs to make up for this round with “perfect” performances in the coming weeks. 

“I only want to move on from this race because it was a terrible weekend. I still have hope in the Championship but I know I cannot afford another zero in a race, so I really hope I can be back to my normal level in Barcelona. I need to be perfect in the next few races, I need to get victories and get them soon. I am happy we are racing in a few days.”

Credit: Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool